5 Benefits of Practicing Yoga

For the bendy generalist. Namaste, JollyGens!

Yoga over the last decade has grown in popularity exponentially across North America. A 2016 survey conducted by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal (carried out by Ipsos Public Affairs) reports the yoga industry in the United States at $16B, up from $10B in 2012. Studios continue to pop up in neighbourhoods from coast to coast and it appears that there are no signs of slowing.

2016 yoga in america study.jpg

So why is this practice so popular? Below are five benefits of practicing yoga:

1. Flexibility

As expected, yoga helps with flexibility and range of motion. By stretching and holding various poses the muscles loosen up and with regular practice, the body will begin to notice increased flexibility.

2. Strength

While many perceive yoga as a relaxing and restorative practice, depending on the type of practice and teacher, yoga can actually work up quite a sweat. Power yoga, in particular, is known to be a quicker, high-intensity practice that works on building muscle. Often the result is leaner, tones muscle rather than bulky muscle.

3. Mindfulness

As discussions around mental health develop, new and thoughtful methods for handling and improving mental wellness are gaining attention. Yoga is a safe outlet for feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression as the breathing practice helps to bring center and awareness to the body’s natural state. By focusing on one’s breathing, other thoughts gradually dissipate and one is left feeling calm and in control.

4. Connectedness

Whether or not you are a spiritual person, yoga offers a sense of connectedness with yourself and others. Both mentally and physically, your body connects to the mind as much as it connects to the floor and a sense of oneness is the result. You begin to gain greater respect and appreciation for those around you as you begin to understand that we are all in this together.

5. Confidence

Every yogi has to start from somewhere. Nerves and inferiority are often felt when first starting yoga as it opens the mind and body to a place of openness, trust, and vulnerability. By opening oneself up in that way though it not only allows for growth and development, it ultimately fosters a place for confidence to grow.



Why Everyone Should Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

For the thoughtful generalist. Happy reading, JollyGens!

A few months ago I set out on a journey of self-improvement. While I am always looking for ways to grow and learn, I found myself at a point where I wanted to be my best version and that meant looking deep inside to figure out who that was. Courses, discussions, and exploration in a variety of situations opened my eyes to endless opportunity and potential but one thing, in particular, has always stuck out – Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Introduced to it by my dad, I looked forward to reading it as I knew it was a classic for all ages. My dad noted it as being one of, if not the most, influential book that he’d read in his life. Thinking “now that’s a big statement…” I had my expectations set high. As I started getting into it, I really began to understand why.

Stephen Covey so graceful and modestly takes simple concepts and interconnects them together in a way that makes so much sense. Written almost 30 years ago, it still applies to today as much as it did back then. By breaking it down into 7 habits that build upon one another, it’s easy to understand the incredible impact working on your character, rather than your personality, can have. The habits are by no means simple or quick fixes but rather well-constructed guidelines to follow as you put in the work towards self-improvement.

Even before finishing the book, I was raving about how influential it was to friends. After completing it, I wanted to make sure as many people knew about it as possible. If you want to learn more about the book and reasons to read it, check out some of the links below:





Interview with a PhD Student

For the academic generalist. “Celebrate the little win(e)s”, JollyGens!

The great part of being a generalist is learning about what others find interesting. And what better type of person to speak to, who loves learning and is an expert in their field, than the Ph.D. student. We interviewed a Health Sciences student to tell us a bit about how they got into and became a specialist in their area of study.

1. What lead you to want to do your Ph.D.?

After graduating undergrad and doing research for a year I realized that I still had a lot of questions about my area of research. In order to explore those questions deeper, I decided to do my Masters and then pursue my Ph.D.

2. What did you do your undergrad and Masters in?

I completed my undergrad in Health Sciences and my Masters in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

3. Did you enjoy your Masters more than your undergrad?

I was more interested in what I was learning in my Masters because my undergrad was quite broad so I had to take courses that I wasn’t particularly interested in. My Masters, on the other hand, focused more specifically on my areas of interest.

4. Did you know you wanted to do your Ph.D. before started your Masters?

No, I decided to pursue my Ph.D. while completing my Masters.

5. What are you doing your Ph.D. in?

Speech Language Pathology.

5. How many years is your Ph.D. and how far along are you?

It is a five-year program and I’m about two years in.

5. Did the number of years of schooling ever intimidate you?

Yes. I still find it sometimes intimidating but for different reasons.

6. How so?

Now that I’ve begun exploring my subject, I no longer worry about how many years I still have to go. Instead, I have a hard time figuring out how to fit everything I want and need to do into the next three years.

7. How do you plan to use your Ph.D. after graduation?

I would like to do clinical research in my field. A lot of school boards are now starting to hire researchers since there is interest in initiating new programs that are more helpful for students. I’d like to be a part of creating and implementing programs that work.

8. Any words of advice for other students looking to pursue their Ph.D.?

It takes a lot of commitment but is really satisfying to study something that you love every day. Create a support network with other people in academia that understand what you are going through because it is very different from the working world.

9. Do you need to be passionate about what you study?

Yes. It would be hard to commit to something that requires so much time and energy if you weren’t passionate about it.

10. Any last words?

Celebrate the little wins… and find a good wine!


How to Properly Care for Your Succulents

For the generalist with a green-thumb. Plant away, JollyGens!

Over the last several years as my level of responsibility has grown – living on my own, taking care of myself and my space – so has my desire to take that next step to become responsible for the life of another. You may be thinking a dog or cat, or perhaps even a child, is where my thoughts are leading. No, the other life I’ve invited into my life is a plant. Several plants actually. One large fig plant and several small succulents.

While I love the green life it adds to my space, I have never really considered myself to have a green-thumb. It could be the generalist in me, pulled away by something else more interesting or necessary at the time, but I have a hard time keeping track of things like when I’ve last watered my plants. Are they getting enough water? Too much? Do they need light? What temperature and container should they be in? All of these questions have lead me to come up with a few tips and tricks to help properly care for my plants.

Below are five helpful hints for taking care of succulents:
    1. Light

      Succulents generally need at least 6 hours of light per day. Pay attention to the season and direction you face, as keeping the succulents in your window sill all day may end up drying them out. Ideally though the more sunlight they are able to get the better as not enough sunlight may affect its chances of survival.

    2. Water

      While succulents are easier plants to care for as they don’t require regular attention, they still do need water. But don’t overwater. Unlike other plants that typically need watering daily, succulents require more water less frequently. Try taking your succulent and placing it in a cup of water for half an hour once a week.

    3. Temperature

      Succulents don’t seem to be too picky towards temperature. Typically they like to be a bit warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. By keeping them near the window in a moderate room this should satisfy the seasonal swing.

    4. Container

      Like you and me, succulents don’t like to sit in a soggy environment. For this reason, their best home is in a container that has the ability to drain. Glass containers, while beautiful, may not be the best to store your succulents. If you’re like me and have a terrarium for your succulents, remove the succulent and place it in a cup of water to hydrate for a short amount time before placing back to air out.

    5. Schedule

      Try keeping a schedule of when you’ve last watered your succulents. Put a reminder in your phone or a note on the fridge once a week to keep you in check. A friend of mine told me their trick which is “Watering Wednesday’s” which I’ve now adopted.


Generalist vs. Specialist: Better together.

For the focused generalist. Learn what it means to be a Specializing-generalist, JollyGens!

Like peanut butter and jelly or Batman and Robbin, some things are just better together. This concept becomes more evident as it is applied to generalists and specialists. Yes, both generalists and specialists have their advantages, and yes, it takes a great deal of effort to develop knowledge and skill in both categories, but when it comes to securing a safe and stable career these two concepts in combination are better together.


3 Advantages/Disadvantages of Being a Generalist
  1. Work well in teams – collaborative in nature, especially with other generalists
  2. Broad knowledge base and wide-range experience to help produce a variety of solutions
  3. Ability to relate and understand the perspective of others
  1. Higher supply and less demand – many businesses are looking for experts in specific capacities, therefore, it can be harder to get hired
  2. Structure and discipline toward one subject may be difficult for generalists
  3. May lack the right knowledge or experience to overcome specific challenges
3 Advantages/Disadvantages of Being a Specialist
  1. Experts in a particular field making them desirable if their expertise are required
  2. Can be hired on a freelance or contract basis
  3. Higher demand and less supply – niche applications require specialists in unique areas which can be harder to find
  1. Rely on others in areas outside of their expertise
  2. Heavily reliant on the needs of the market and are at risk of being replaced if new technologies are introduced or changes occur in their industry
  3. Can be challenging to understand the bigger picture
The sweet spot


Lev Kaye, Founder and CEO at CredSpark, notes in his article Generalists vs. Specialists: Who Owns The Future? that there are two types of people that will own the future:

  1. Generalizing-specialists
  2. Specializing-generalist

Someone who is inherently a specialist but realizes to avoid being replaced or pigeonholed into their specialty they must grow and learn on a broader level.


Someone who is inherently a generalist but knows that in order to provide further value they must acquire proficiency in a certain set of skills.

Both of these types of people understand that in order to progress and grow in their careers they must not categorize themselves into one basket or the other. Rather they need to expand their knowledge and skills both horizontally on a broader spectrum, as well as vertically toward deeper understanding.